Chinese tech firms increasingly encountering obstacles in the US

American electronics retailer Best Buy has announced that it would no longer sell smartphones made by China's Huawei.
American electronics retailer Best Buy has announced that it would no longer sell smartphones made by China's Huawei.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Chinese technology companies are finding it increasingly difficult to access the US market, as Washington adopts double standards in investment and trade as well as leverages national security as ways of preventing these enterprises from expanding in the United States, analysts said.

The comments came amid heightened trade tension between the two countries after US President Donald Trump signed a memo last Thursday (March 22) imposing tariffs on as much as US$60 billion (S$78 billion) worth of Chinese imports.

Mr Trump also signed a memorandum to add new investment restrictions on Chinese companies and adding investment restrictions on Chinese companies.

Mr Bai Ming, a researcher at the Ministry of Commerce, said the US government's current trade and investment policy is without doubt "a matter of double standards".

"The US sees maximising its own interests as the only standard for fair trade," said Mr Bai, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, the ministry's think tank.

According to him, the US government often complains about "market access denial" from China towards US companies. But in reality, these allegations are totally unfounded and, on the contrary, Chinese tech companies like Huawei are the true victims of unfair treatment from the US.

Last week, Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer in the US, announced that it would no longer sell smartphones made by China's Huawei, the world's third-largest smartphone vendor.

The move came just several weeks after the US telecom carrier AT&T abandoned Huawei's phones under reported national security pressure from the US government.

"The US blocks the shipment of Huawei's smartphones chiefly because Huawei is a Chinese company," Mr Bai said.

"This is in sharp contrast to the situation in China, which treats goods imported from the US fairly. We can see that nearly every US tech company has a business presence in China, with US smartphones particularly popular here."

Mr Bai noted that smartphones are only for civil use, and consumers have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to buy Huawei's products, which are now available in more than 170 countries and regions.

Huawei is not the only Chinese company running into trouble in the US. In recent months, a string of Chinese acquisition plans have been blocked due to "national security concerns". The list includes Ant Financial's proposed purchase of US money transfer company MoneyGram International and Chinese semi-conductor companies' plans to buy US counterparts.

Ms Liao Tianshu, managing director of Boston Consulting Group Greater China, said the US government's move to deter Chinese companies from entering the market will hurt local consumers' interests, as they will have fewer choices when making purchases.